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Let Growing Commence

Date: 08/02/2012 | Posted by John Garton
Island primary schools are preparing to compete in this year’s Genuine Jersey Royal Growing Competition to see which class can grow the heaviest crop of the Island’s famous potato.

Now in its sixth year, the competition is organised by The Jersey Royal Company and supported by the Genuine Jersey Products Association and the States of Jersey Health Promotion Unit. In 2011, 212 classes from 25 schools took part with St Christopher’s growing the heaviest crop and the most potatoes, and St Lawrence producing the best display of class work.

It is not just children who take part. The Constables are competing again in what is a hotly-contested parochial challenge, while the media challenge will see the JEP go for a fourth win in a row, though they shared the honours with 103 FM in 2011. Journalist Toby Chiang grew the heaviest crop and the radio station’s Chris Halford’s the most potatoes. All the competitions will be judged at the end of May as part of the Jersey Food Festival and the prizes will be presented by the Lieutenant-Governor, General Sir John McColl, and Lady McColl.

The Jersey Royal Company’s Sales Manager, Trevor Le Maistre, said: ‘The Jersey Royal Company is committed through its corporate social responsibility policy to ensuring that visitors, Islanders and, in particular, local school children are aware of the Jersey’s agricultural heritage and the benefits of having an active social and rural landscape. Last year, it was hugely rewarding for the company that more than 5,500 children took part and with such eager enthusiasm, so we are looking forward to seeing how the children - and Connétables and the media - fare in this year’s contests.’

The schools’ competition incorporates specific studies over the three-month growing period learning how plants grow, where food comes from, understanding the history of the Jersey Royal and the importance of eating a balanced healthy diet. To support their entries, schools are invited to submit written work which in the past has involved projects in English, history, geography, science, mathematics and even music.

The class teacher of St Christopher’s winning team in 2011, Mrs Jackie Crick, said the children would definitely be entering again this year.

‘All the children thoroughly enjoyed taking care of the crop and learning where potatoes come from,’ she said.

The Chief Executive of Genuine Jersey Products Association, John Garton said: ‘We are delighted to be again supporting The Jersey Royal Company’s important educational work with Island schools. The competition enables young Islanders to understand the historical and cultural importance of the Jersey Royal as well as learning about the health-giving properties of a healthy diet based on fresh local produce when it is at its seasonal best.’